Publisher: Australian Trade Union Institute ATUI

Resource Library

“Pig Iron Bob” and the 1938 Port Kembla strike

The 1938 Dalfram dispute involved dock workers at Port Kembla in Australia striking & refusing to load iron on a ship bound for Japan in 1938.

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1936 Maritime Strike by Torres Strait Islander Workers

Learn about the maritime strike in the Torres Strait Islands in 1936 where workers in the pearl fishing industry took a stand against racism.

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21 April 1856 – Melbourne Stonemason’s take action for the 8-Hour Day

On 21 April in 1856, building workers in Melbourne took strike action and won the eight-hour day as a general industry standard.

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60th Anniversary of the Labour History Society

A blog article about the 60th Anniversary of Australian Society for the Study of Labour History (ASSLH). Find out more about membership.

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A Short History of Unions taking Action for Equal Pay!

31 August is Equal Pay Day-Australian unions have a long history of campaigning for gender equality & for the economic independence of women workers.

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An approach to member journey mapping for the union movement

Not all members are the same – so how can thoughtful research and building personas help?  This workshop will look at researching member experience, wants, needs and “pain points” to inform and craft their member journey.

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Australia’s First Nation-wide Union Meeting and the Foundation of the Australian Council of Trade Unions ACTU

The first nation-wide meeting of unions in Australia took place in October 1879. It was called the Intercolonial Trade Union Congress.

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Australian Unions win Maternity Leave – 1979

Learn about the history of maternity leave in Australia in the 1970s and the role of the Australian unions.

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Big Facts With Van Badham

In these videos author and Guardian columnist Van Badham unpacks questions about unemployment, privatisation, and disaster capitalism.

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Brian Manning: A Life in the Struggle

On 3 November 2013, the legendary unionist Brian Manning passed away after a lifetime in the struggle. The union movement is proud to remember him and his extraordinary contribution to the cause of social justice.

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Converting Student Members to Full Members (Webinar)

In this webinar, we hear from a panel of unionists on what they have learned about recruiting and attracting student members and converting them into ongoing membership of their unions

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Data Campaigning, New Member Onboarding and Automated Member Journeys

This webinar looks at how to combine data with digital tools to produce usable recruitment lists, and how automated tools can help to turn a ‘maybe’ into a new member, as well as marketing automation tools that can be used in combination with insights about members to craft efficient and effective onboarding and member journeys.

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Delegates are Diamonds: Learning from Union Delegates’ Experiences in Australia

Exploration of the current landscape for unions in Australia and innovative pathways forward for unions to empower Australian workers.

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Effective Onboarding of New Members

The ACTU Insights Team provided a summary of insights collected through their New Member Join Research program, conducted with new union members across the movement, focused on understanding their initial onboarding expectations and experiences, at the one month and three month mark of joining. The Insights team was joined on a panel by affiliates giving short outlines of the onboarding journeys they are implementing and their experiences so far.

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Emma Miller: Remembering a Union Hero

Learn more about legendary union activist, leader and organiser Emma Miller, who was born on the 26th of June 1839.

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Futures Network: A New Look at Union Power

Distinguished Professor Anthony Forsyth (RMIT College of Business and Law, author of The Future of Unions and Worker Representation - The Digital Picket Line) and Alison Rudman (Secretary, CFMEU Manufacturing NSW and PhD candidate, University of Sydney) talk about their work on case studies of union strategy, with a particular focus on how unions build and exercise power.

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Futures Network: AI and algoritmic management

AI is taking the world by storm, and revolutionising the world of work in the process. Unions, like every sector of society, will need to find effective ways to respond. Across three workshops in September, October, and November, the Futures Network explored some of the most pressing questions relevant for unions in this emerging space. In this, the first of the series, a panel outlined key recent developments, how they impact workers and what needs to be considered in unions’ response.

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Futures Network: Can unions use AI and ChatGPT to grow or lift capacity?

This workshop, the third in a Futures Network series on AI, explored areas where unions could use ChatGPT and other AI, machine learning and large language models for growth, communications, campaigning and operations.

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Futures Network: New Digital Tools – AI chat and more

Over the course of 2023, new and innovative tools and technology were developed by affiliates and TLCs to support union campaigns. This workshop looks at some of the tools built for Unions for Yes, which could have ongoing application in digital campaigning across the movement.

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Futures Network: What is AI? Outline and example of its impact in the creative and information industries

Rapid advances in AI and machine learning and its application in the workplace has led to some highly visible disputes in film and creative industries over recent months – but these developments in technology are a continuation of change in workplaces in all industries. In this, the second of a series of three Futures Network meetings in 2023 devoted to a discussion of AI and its potential and pitfalls for workers, Conor Aitken, data specialist, cybersecurity consultant and member of Professionals Australia gives a glimpse "under the hood" of what AI actually is, while Niki Baras, a translator and interpreter and also organiser for Translators and Interpreters Australia (part of Professionals Australia) describes its impact on her industry and the union response.

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Generation Z: Understanding the Next Generation of Workers

The Queensland Teachers Union has completed its report examining the next generation of workers. This session goes through what makes our under 30s tick—and in particular what unions can do now to ensure they are meeting the needs of the next generation of workers.

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Growth Battles to be Won

What are the battles that need to be won for unions to grow? How can unions position themselves to prospective members for relevance and effectiveness? How do future members perceive the value of union membership? And how can we improve the pathways to join? In this session, we’ll take you through the research underpinning the ACTU’s Brand Project, and discuss how unions can win the battle for growth.

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Henry Lawson: The Workers’ Poet

Commemorating Australian poet, Henry Lawson, who in the late nineteenth century was a superstar of working-class poetry.

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How Unions helped build Medicare

The history of how unions helped create Medicare, the national public health system in Australia, introduced in 1984.

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How Unions helped build Superannuation

Unions have a long history of campaigning for superannuation.There were union campaigns for retirement schemes as far back as the 1920s.

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How Unions Won the Right to Annual Leave

A short history of how unions in Australia campaigned over the decades for the right to annual leave.

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How Unions Won the Weekend

The story of how workers came together in their unions, took actions, and won the important right to a weekend and the 40 hour work week.

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Informal Workers: From Atomised Objects to Collective Subjects

In this workshop, Professor Chris Tilly from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs drew on his research as well as that of others to explore key lessons from experiences of organising informal or irregular workers – those not reached by labour law, such as domestic workers, undocumented migrant workers, contract workers and on-demand workers. His presentation was followed by a panel of unions related their experience with organising informal workers.

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Introduction to Digital Campaigning: An essential guide every union needs to get a winning online campaign started

A practical tool kit for organisers and campaigners in the field to help you win your online campaigns.

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Jennie George becomes the first woman elected ACTU President

About Jennie George - the first woman to be elected as President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

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Maritime Union of Australia MUA: Here to Stay! The 1998 Waterfront Dispute

Read about the infamous 1998 Waterfront dispute with the dockworkers, Maritime Union of Australia and Patrick Stevedores.

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Marketing Automation for Unions

How can unions use marketing automation tools to build their online campaigning and organising capacity to recruit members, leaders, and supporters? Stephen Gargano, Manager – Strategy, Projects and Development at the Union Innovation Hub gives an overview of marketing automation and how unions can use it, covering elements such as engagement, new member onboarding, mapping and journeys.

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Noonkanbah Protest

An inspiring example of collective action by Aboriginal workers and their allies against powerful corporate interests who wanted to trample their rights for profit.

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Organising Migrant Workers: Lessons Learnt Before and After Covid-19

In this webinar, the panel will discuss the drivers that make migrant workers vulnerable to workplace exploitation. Gabriela D’Souza discussed research and trends on temporary migration and how Covid-19 has affected migrants. Thomas Costa used the case of Visa Assist (that Unions NSW run together with the Immigration Advice and Rights Centre) to examine how unions can successfully engage with, organise and assist migrant workers.

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Organising with 2020 Vision: Case Studies of New Approaches to Union Growth and Capacity Building

Case studies on union growth and organising initiatives to challenge our thinking and build our toolkit for union growth in a connected age.

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Recruiting Students to Union Membership

Whether it be targeting students at university or those about to enter their first apprenticeship, this session covers how unions have successfully organised young workers as they undergo education and training for their chosen profession.

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Remembering Bob Hawke

Remembering former Prime Minister of Australia and President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions ACTU - legendary Bob Hawke.

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Remembering Edna Ryan: Champion of Equality

Remembering Edna Ryan, a woman who left an extraordinary legacy of activism against sexism and for gender equity.

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Rise! Empowering Australian Workers through the Collective Spirit and Collaborative Energy of Unions

This paper, written by Belinda Moore and Chris Walton, explores the current landscape for unions in Australia and outlines innovative pathways forward for unions to more effectively empower Australian workers.

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Stories of Hope & Change: Muriel Heagney

This is the story of Muriel Heagney, an extraordinary unionist who led a 60-year long campaign for equal pay for working women.

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The 1891 Shearers’ Strike

A Sheep Shearer’s strike began in Queensland in 1891 when employers sought to introduce union-busting contracts and a reduction in pay rates.

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The 1916 Campaign against Conscription

Learn about the union-led campaign against conscription in World World War One as told by the Australian Trade Union Institute.

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The 1957 Palm Island Strike

Learn about the leaders of a strike in 1957 by Aboriginal people on Palm Island demanding to be treated with dignity, respect & equality.

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The 1972 Equal Pay Case

Brief history of the union campaign in Australia for equal pay for women which led to the “equal pay for work of equal value” decision in 1972.

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The ACTU’s 1941 Equal Pay Conference

The Australian Council of Trade Unions ACTU campaign for equal pay for women workers started with a conference in 1941.

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The Campaign for Asbestos Justice and Workers’ Compensation

Read about and be inspired by the campaign by workers including Bernie Banton and their unions for justice for asbestos victims.

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The First Sydney Mardi Gras – and the Hidden History of LGBTIQA+ Unionists!

Have you heard the story of the trade union contribution to the struggle for equality? Read about the hidden history of LGBTIQA+ and unionists.

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The Gurindji Strike, 1966

Learn about the Wave Hill walk off and strike in 1966 by the Gurindji people who fought for award wages, land rights and self-determination.

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The Harvester Judgement and the Basic Wage

In 1907 the Commonwealth Conciliation & Arbitration Court delivered the famous Harvester Judgement enforcing a basic rate of pay.

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The Metal Workers win the 38-hour week

On 8 December 1981, unionists in the metal industry voted to end a long industrial campaign, and won the 38-hour week.

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The Origins of May Day

The first of May has long been a day of celebration for the international workers’ movement. Why do we celebrate May Day?

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The Power of Union Learning: A Snapshot from the ‘70s

Snapshot of the significance of union training for workplace representatives at a time when school completion rates were half of what they are today in Australia.

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Tribute to Tom McDonald: A Lifetime Winning for Workers

Tribute to Tom McDonald, a union activist, organiser & leader, dedicated to empowering workers to take action to win improvements in their lives at work.

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Unfinancial Members Calls

Retention is the other – equally important - side of the growth coin. Participants in this webinar heard from presenters who shared some of our movements most well-developed contact centre retention strategies.

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Union solidarity with East Timor

In 1999 the Australian union movement sprung into action to show solidarity with the people of East Timor by protesting.

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Use it or Lose It: Education and Development of Delegates in Australian Unions

Based on interviews in 2022 and 2023 with educators, organisers, and union secretaries and assistant secretaries, this report examines the state of union delegate education and development across a selection of Australian unions.

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War on the Water Front: Australian Waterfront Dispute 1998 [Videos – Short History & Documentary]

Documentary about the Australian waterfront dispute of 1998 - a watershed event in Australian industrial relations history.

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West Gate Bridge Collapse in 1970

Learn about one of the worst industrial disasters in Australia’s history: the collapse of the West Gate Bridge in Melbourne in 1970.

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Why Nelson Mandela Thanked the Australian Union Movement

In 1990 Nelson Mandela delivered a thank you speech to the Australian trade union movement at the Melbourne Town Hall.

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Zelda D’Aprano’s Equal Pay Protest

On 21 October 1969, legendary union activist Zelda D’Aprano chained herself to the doors of the Commonwealth Building to protest for Equal Pay! This is her remarkable story.

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Topics

Campaigning (8)

Leadership (10)

Organising (20)

Communications (12)

Industrial (6)

Work Health and Safety (2)

Social and History (40)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (6)

Years

2020 (14)

2023 (1)

2024 (2)

2005 (1)

2022 (13)

2021 (25)

2015 (1)

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ACTU Futures Network (9)

ACTU Conference 2020 (3)

Innovations Series 2020 (2)

ATUI Union History Blog (38)

Quick Histories - Videos by Union Historian, Liam Byrne (26)

Big Facts With Van Badham - ATUI Blog (1)

Format

Podcasts (12)

Webinars (14)

Videos (28)

Reports (4)

Books (2)

Articles (37)